Movies for Women? #movies #wwwblogs

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I do like a good film- almost as much as I like a good book. And I have quite diverse tastes. A list of my all-time favourites would include ‘The Color Purple’, ‘Only God Forgives’, ‘All the President’s Men’, ‘Drive’, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, ‘Bronson’ and ‘Midnight Cowboy’.
So, eclectic taste then. And I’m happy to try anything, mainly because my son is studying film and English and makes me watch things I otherwise wouldn’t think of, and they’re the ones I usually love.
So I was persuaded to go along to see ‘Suicide Squad’ (read Scott’s review here). But god, was it awful. Truly awful. And part of the big issue for me was Harley Quinn.

harley quinn

Really?

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is the Joker’s psychiatrist-turned-girlfriend who helps him escape Arkham Asylum so that they can Bonnie and Clyde their way across Gotham. That’s a pretty interesting duality for a character to grapple with, but it’s handled so badly in the film that it ends up more travesty than USP. What starts out as a promising role deteriorates into a tired vehicle for infantile sex fantasy.
On the way home I had a real rant (I’m a bundle of fun to take out) and it got me thinking about films in general and why women always seem to be the ones left out of the fun.
I love films. I love well-written, stylistic, beautifully shot films. I’d go to the cinema far more if there was anything that actually appealed to me. I’m sure there are lots of older women like me who would too. So why are we ignored? What is there for us? I have no interest in Mr D’Arcy, I hated the Great Expectations remake, I hate, hate, hate anything in the New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc. franchise. I can’t bear musicals – Mama Mia was appalling and don’t get me started on Les Miserables. And no, I don’t want Marigold Hotels either.

charlize

That’s more like it!

I’ll be honest, there have been a few recent goodies that I’ve loved. Legend, for one, and not just because of Tom Hardy; and I loved Mad Max (again, I promise!). The Grand Budapest Hotel was stunning (even though I have an irrational fear of Jude Law) and I have to recommend the uncut version of Batman vs. Superman, if only for the gratuitous Ben Affleck shirt-off scenes (hey, until they stop doing it to women then it’s fair enough). OK, it was really silly – but it was well-done silly. But there is a real dearth of good films out there.
I think a lot of this is to do with fear – the same fear that stops publishers taking on unknowns. Money makes the world go round, after all, and no one wants to take a risk (except Nicolas Winding Refn, apparently) so loads of great stories go ignored.
I can think of at least ten great books I’ve read in the last year or so that would make wonderful films- films that would appeal to women like me. Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, Mary Smith’s No More Mulberries, Hilary Custance Green’s Borderline, Rebecca Powell’s The Brazilian Husband, and Samantha Harvey’s Dear Thief, for example (and if you haven’t read these books yet, then you really must). All great stories, with fabulous, interesting, three-dimensional characters and settings that would look wonderful on film. But sadly, I think that film has gone the same way as publishing. Re-make after re-make after re-make. Franchise after franchise after franchise. Celebrity sells and money talks – who cares about the story?

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16 comments

  1. What a happy moment! I only get to see my blog friends early morning or late evening (as life is complicated at the moment). Your post came in and I glanced at it, got interested and read on – I love films but we don’t get to many on my wish list – and I was nodding in agreement about the ones you hate and thinking I MUST get to see The Grand Budapest Hotel… and there was my book on your wish list. I have never believed kind friends who have said this would make a good film, but here in this context I did and it has given me renewed energy and cheer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree totally Alison and I’ve heard recently that there are remakes on the way of The Magnificent Seven and Gone With the Wind, two of my favourites. All I can say is, why are these film makers so lacking in any imagination?? It’s infuriating!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When I was a younger lad I almost always found the women in the movies I watched to be annoying and infuriating.( I mostly watched action movies) This always puzzled me because I had a great relationship with my mom and my sister was my best friend/protector. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized why I disliked them so much. They were all extremely poorly written characters. Now there was probably some latent sexism there as I usually had no problem with their poorly written male counterparts. It baffles me how difficult it seems for Hollywood to invest just a little effort into putting a well developed female character on the big screen. Mad Max did a admirable job with Furiosa. I believe there is a stand alone film for her in the works. Looking forward to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It does seem really obvious that mainstream Hollywood hasn’t moved forward one iota from the lowest risk/least creative model so we get a bunch of warmed-over sequels and boring tropes with female characters designed as foils to the (usually male) protagonist. On the flip side we do see a little more creative risk coming out of Netflix and amazon…. best recourse is to continue to vote with our wallets and support indies and other creative risk takers. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I watch tons of films. Probably slightly different from the ones you like, though, sometimes…. I don’t like ‘women’s interest’ stuff, and shirk from anything ‘feel good’. Recently I’ve loved The Infiltrator (I love Bryan Cranston), Free State of Jones (US Civil war true story starring Matthew McConnaughey – phwoooarrr!), The Revenant … I thought Mamma Mia was appalling too, and detest Marigold Hotel stuff (though the book from which it came was fab). I will have to rack (wrack?) my brains for any ‘stylish, beautiful’ films of the type you like…. yes, I could rant about Hollywood and its attitudes for ages, too, but one of the problems is that women buy into it (and, thus, perpetrate it), by flocking to the cinema to watch sexist bollocks, basically. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Meryl Streep talk about what an archaic and misogynistic set up Hollywood is?

    Like you, I often read books and think, oh, this would make a fabulous film or Netflix series. Like the indie music in the 1980s that eventually went mainstream, maybe indie writing and film will have its day in the future, too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right – a big part of the problem is that women buy into it. I still can’t get my head round the whole fifty shades thing :/ Tempted by the Matthew McConnaughey film, loved him in True Detective (thought the second series was dreadful).

      Like

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